This year is no normal year for Microsoft’s Australia Partner Conference (APC). Philip Goldie, director of partner business & development at Microsoft Australia, talks to CRN about overhauling the annual affair.
Why should CRN readers consider coming to Microsoft APC?
"We are at a pivotal time in the vendor and partner landscape around the world and particularly in Australia. If I think about the last few years of APC, it has been about helping partners understand the opportunity around the cloud. We went through a few stages. First it was, ‘Why should I move to the cloud? Then, ‘How do I move to the cloud?’ Now we are at, ‘How do I profit in this new world?’
"For me, that is one of the key questions – if not the key question – that we need to answer."
What about partners who aren’t focused on the cloud?
"Whether or not you have embraced the cloud, if you’re wondering what the next three to five years will look like for your business, APC will be a great place to disconnect from the day-to-day and get answers to those questions.
"There are two reasons to come to APC: it’s a great way to network and build partner-to-partner and partner-to-Microsoft relationships; and the other is the content, from top-line strategy of the company down to details around execution and the investments we are making.
"You will not see a series of tracks on things like big data, cloud and the typical IT conference ‘big themes’ approach. The tracks are built around technology, but also customer stories. We have track on profitability and business transformation.
"The final piece is how do I move on from the traditional marketing I am doing and acquire new customers: think digital, think social, think content marketing. We will have whole track helping partners to capitalise on that.
"The aim is to make APC the premier business conference for partners in Australia."
But isn’t APC just for the Microsoft faithful?
"The answer is no. While Microsoft technology plays a core role at APC – because it is the technology that forms the key basis of our relationships with partners – the content is applicable whether you are a 100 percent Microsoft partner or if Microsoft plays a relatively small part in your business.
"This year, the content is much more designed for the broad audience than any other APC we have done. The Microsoft network is growing. We have added a substantial number of partners – we have seen 20 percent partner growth in the last 12 months alone.
"Whether you are a very established Microsoft partner, a new partner or one just considering working around the Microsoft ecosystem in some way, and if you want to get into the nitty gritty of business model transformation, APC has something for everyone."
Is APC about more than just Microsoft?
"It is rapidly becoming a multi-vendor conference. At its core, it will remain focused and oriented around Microsoft as a platform but if you look at vendors who sponsor and participate in a meaningful way, such as Veeam, Sitecore and ISVs that sit around Office 265 and Azure, there is a very rich multi-vendor approach.
"And then you have the work we are doing with ‘Cloud Solution Provider’ partners like Rhipe and Ingram Micro.
"Our intention is to make APC a true business conference, delivering business value and profitability, marketing, business models, sales skills… that is what we want to take
it toward and this a massive step in 2015."
CRN is media partner of Microsoft APC. Click here to find out more and register for the conference, which takes place on the Gold Coast, 31 August to 3 September.